When we’re young, most of us don’t care or even think about saving money as much as we do finding fun new ways of spending it. Whether it’s barhopping on the weekend or constantly ordering takeout, we all have our financial vices. And while cutting down on your spending can seem like a daunting prospect, a few simple tricks can pave the way to a healthier relationship with money for the long-term.
Read on for a few basic pieces of advice we could all stand to hear when it comes to money.
Retirement might seem like a faraway reality, but if you want to ride out comfortably, you’ll have to start saving early. Take advantage of your 401K plan if you have one, and save up independently if you don’t. Try to devote somewhere around 10% of your income towards retirement. But don’t just save for the end of your life, save for all the stuff before then too, like vacations and car shopping. Instead of making large purchases on credit, save and plan well in advance, even if it just means putting down a larger down payment in order to avoid larger monthly bills.
Bank On The Go
At this point, there’s almost no need to even go to a bank branch anymore. Mobile banking apps let you deposit checks, transfer between accounts, and check up on your balance from your fingertips. Sure, there’s something nice about handing the teller a fat check and going through the deposit process in person, but it doesn’t beat having the funds available in your account immediately. Moreover, mobile banking has become reliably safe and using a phone app can help you avoid common bank fees. Plus, we’re always on our phones anyway.
Track Your Spending
If you want to get serious about financial planning you need to start tracking your spending. Even better, build a monthly budget and then try to stick to it. There’s a bunch of ways of tracking your purchases, but apps like Mint can help you pin down every dollar you’re spending and better understand where your paycheck is going each month. Once you have a strong grasp on the money flowing out, you can be smarter about saving up.
Pay Off Your Debt
Student debt is at epidemic proportions in this country, so if you’ve got the cost of your college education looming over your head, at least you’re in good company. But the most important way of setting yourself apart is actually understanding how much debt you have and how it works. While your principal debt might be daunting, it’s the interest that will eat away at you (and decades of your life). The best way of tackling the problem is the most obvious: pay off your loans as fast as possible.
Work On Your Credit
Good credit is essential to a healthy financial future. Any time you’re planning out a big purchase—a car or house especially—the bank will be looking at your credit score to determine your loan details. Same goes for renting an apartment or even applying for a job: your credit score might be an issue. So what can you do to build up good credit? Pay your bills on time and avoid maxed out credit cards. Credit card payments are a great way towards building your credit, but in general, keeping your balances low is just as important.
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